MA Museums, Heritage, and Material Culture Studies

Duration: Full time one year, part-time over 3 years

Entry Requirements: Candidates must normally possess a first or upper second class honors degree or equivalent. (E.g. an equivalent bachelors degree from a good US university would have a GPA of 3.3 or above). The programme is interdisciplinary in nature so it is not necessary to have a degree in a discipline directly related to the programme. Each application is assessed on its individual merits and entry requirements may be modified in the light of relevant professional experience, and where the applicant can show a practical commitment to their field of study. Candidates must also be able to provide two supporting references.

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?

The programme is ideal for students wishing to pursue a career in the museum, heritage and arts sectors with a focus on non-Western art and culture, and both tangible and intangible heritage. It will suit practicing museum and heritage professionals who are interested in strengthening their knowledge of contemporary debates in critical museology, critical heritage studies and material culture studies. With its interdisciplinary focus, it will suit students interested in broadening their expertise across anthropology, art history and archaeology. It will also provide an excellent postgraduate foundation for students interested in pursuing Ph.D. research concerned with museums, heritage, and material/visual culture in Asian, African, Middle Eastern and transnational/transcultural contexts.

This interdisciplinary programme brings together anthropological, art historical and archaeological perspectives to explore the interconnecting fields of museums, heritage, and material culture studies. The MA disprivileges Western museum and heritage discourses and practices and explores tangible and intangible cultural heritage as spheres of global interaction.

The MA will equip students with a theoretically-informed critical understanding of museums, heritage, and material/visual culture. Taught across the Department of Anthropology and School of Arts, the MA provides a unique opportunity to learn about current debates in World Art and World Heritage, combining ethnographic, art historical and archaeological approaches.

Students will be introduced to a wide range of thematic and theoretical issues and will have the opportunity to curate a small exhibition in the Curating Cultures module, and put into practice anthropological research techniques in the Ethnographic Research Methods course.

Situated in London’s ‘Museum Mile’, a few hundred meters from the British Museum, and with its own Brunei Gallery, SOAS provides a unique environment in which to study the cultural heritage of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


The programme consists of 180 credits in total: 120 credits of modules and a dissertation of 10,000 words at 60 credits.

All students are expected to take the core and compulsory modules listed below.

Students are advised to take one or both of the recommended modules listed below or may wish to select from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology or the School of Arts (Departments of Centre for Media Studies, History of Art and Archaeology or Music) options lists.

The remaining credits can be selected from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology list or the School of Arts options. See below for a detailed programme structure.

Language Entitlement Programme:

Many students choose to pursue a language through the SOAS Language Entitlement Programme (LEP). Languages normally available include Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Others may also be offered.

Programme Detail


All students are required to take the compulsory modules, totaled at 120 credits.

  • Dissertation in Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies 15PANC997 (60 credits) Full Year
  • Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 (30 credits) Full Year
  • Approaches to Critical Interpretation & Aesthetic Theories 15PARC004 (30 credits) Full Year


All students must take the core module worth 30 credits.

  • Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies 15PANC099 (30 credits) Full Year


Students are advised to take one or both of the recommended modules, worth 15 credits each, or may wish to select the remaining 30 credits from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and School of Arts options lists.


  • Curating Cultures Cohort B 15PARH088 (15credits) Term 2
  • Ethnographic Research Methods 15PANH002 (15credits) Term 1

Anthropology and Sociology

  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 (15credits) Term 2
  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 (15credits) Term 1
  • Anthropological approaches to agriculture, food and nutrition 15PANH053 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Anthropology of Globalisation (PG) 15PANH061 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Anthropology of Human Rights (PG) 15PANH058 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Anthropology of Law 15PANH056 (15credits) Term 2
  • Comparative Media Theory 15PANH028 (15credits) Term 1
  • Culture and Society of China 15PANH062 (15credits) Term 2
  • Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 (15credits) Term 1
  • Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 (15credits) Term 1
  • Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 (15credits) Term 1
  • Culture and Society of South East Asia 15PANH066 (15credits) Term 2
  • Culture and Society of Near and Middle East 15PANH067 (15credits) Term 2
  • Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 (15credits) Term 2
  • Issues in the Anthropology of Gender 15PANH024 (15credits) Term 2
  • Media Production Skills 15PANH050 (15credits) Term 2
  • Perspectives On Development 15PANH033 (15credits) Term 1
  • Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion 15PANH055 (15credits) Term 1
  • Therapy and Culture 15PANH027 (15credits) Term 1
  • Tourism and Travel: A Global Perspective 15PANH059 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018


Centre for Media Studies

  • Digital traditional broadcasting communication 15PMSH022 (15credits) Term 2
  • International Political Communication 15PMSH009 (15credits) Term 2
  • Media Spectacle and Urban Space in East Asia 15PMSH026 (15credits) Term 2
  • Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications 15PMSH003 (15credits) Term 1
  • Studies in Global Digital Cultures 15PMSH029 (15credits) Term 1
  • Studies in Global Media and Post-National Communication 15PMSH007 (15credits) Term 1
  • Studies in Media, Information Communication Technologies and Development 15PMSH019 (15credits) Term 1
  • The Transnational News Environment: Production, Representation and Use 15PMSH006 (15credits) Term 1
  • Theoretical Issues in Media and Cultural Studies 15PMSH005 (15credits) Term 1
  • Topics in Global Digital Cultures 15PMSC034 (15credits) Term 2
  • Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media: Networking, Connectivity, Identity 15PMSH004 (15credits) Term 2

History of Art

  • Architectural Boundaries and the Body 15PARH063 (15credits) Term 1
  • Art and Architecture of the Early Ottomans and the Beyliks (13-15th centuries) 15PARH068 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer, and Reception 15PARH064 (15credits) Term 2
  • Critical Themes in Tibetan Art 15PARH074 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia 15PARH073 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1) 15PARH078 (15credits) Term 1
  • Islamic Art & Architecture of Medieval Anatolia and the South Caucasus (11-13th centuries) 15PARH070 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Islamic Art and Architecture of Eastern Mediterranean of the Period of the Crusades (11th-14th centuries) 15PARH080 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Monuments and sculpture of Angkor 15PARH071 (15credits) Term 1
  • Morocco and the Horizons of Visibility 15PARH065 (15credits) Term 2
  • The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History 15PARH076 (15credits) Term 1
  • Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context 15PARH075 (15credits) Term 1


  • Analysing World Music: Transcription & Analysis in Ethnomusicology 15PMUH004 (15credits) Term 2
  • Analytical Approaches to the Global Creative and Cultural Industries 15PMUH023 (15credits) Term 1
  • Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia 15PMUH017 (15credits) Term 2
  • Ethnicity, Religion and Gender in Middle Eastern Musical cultures 15PMUH024 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Gender and Music (MMus) 15PMUH009 (15credits) Term 2
  • Indian vocal music: Styles and histories 15PMUH025 (15credits) Term 2
  • Music and Healing 15PMUH019 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Music, Nation and Conflict in Jerusalem 15PMUH022 (15credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Music, Place, and Politics in Cuba 15PMUH015 (15credits) Term 1
  • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 (15credits) Term 1
  • Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (PG) 15PMUH018 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Raga: concept and practice (PG) 15PMUH020 (15credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Sacred Sound in South Asia 15PMUH021 (15credits) Term 1
  • The Music Business (Masters) 15PMUH003 (15credits) Term 2
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Last updated January 23, 2019
This course is Campus based
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1 - 3 years
9,225 GBP
Full-time UK/EU Fees: £9,225; Full-time Overseas Fees: £18,980 per academic year
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